Architecture needs the support of government to make the most of Sir Terry Farrell’s review
Architecture minister Ed Vaizey has said he doesn’t think the government needs to formally respond to Sir Terry Farrell’s year-long review of architecture and the built environment, published this week.
Though he was supportive of the report’s 60 findings, and exhorted the industry to make Farrell’s vision real, it feels like his response means the government hasn’t so much kicked the review into the long grass as buried it deep under the long grass in the middle of a very big field.
Vaizey has said he’ll “lobby” policymakers in support of the review’s recommendations and check progess in a year, but this doesn’t amount to the two key things – money and policy – that would catalyse the implementation process.
As much as Vaizey might like it to be, architecture is far from the top of the political agenda – lagging well behind the economy, employment and living standards. Given this, it’s hard to see why any government would make Farrell’s suggestions a priority after May 2015.
Architecture is far from the top of the political agenda – lagging well behind the economy, employment and living standards
It is not unusual for ministers to promise to respond to reviews, only to then leave the industry hanging for months – in some ways knowing there is no response coming soon allows the sector to get on with things immediately.
There are plenty of things that the industry can do to improve education, leadership and export capability without government’s help. But reforming planning, VAT rates and appointing a government architecture adviser all require government action.
From this report good things can still grow, but that grassy field looks unlikely to yield a harvest of results without government support.
Vern Pitt, Building reporter